I’d written all this a few years ago. Reposting today, with minor edits and pictures I didn’t have at that time.
21st June was usually “get-together day” for the CS Ananthan Nair family. If it was a holiday, it was lunch that went into tea. Otherwise, tea that eventually carried on till dinner. Apart from being the longest day of the year, it was a special day that we all looked forward to, my grandpa’s birthday. When he turned 80, we had a bit of a big celebration, where we called all his relatives, friends and neighbours. Grandpa would have been 113 today. And in a week it would be 18 years since he moved on.
Looking back at his youthful days, on Dad’s 89th anniversary.
Venkoba Manay went to Germany in 1956, as a 25-year old, eager to learn and achieve. He spent his prime years, studying and working, learning structural design, a field in which he gained proficiency and became well-accomplished.
When we were growing up in Bangalore, we were not aware of Father’s Day (or of Mother’s Day either). It was more like their respective birthdays were their special days! And of course, we would like to believe that they did feel special being around us every day as well.
Another day to celebrate should not hurt though. The more the celebration, the more the wheels of the economy will move around. In America, Father’s Day is the third Sunday of June, and a national holiday. Over the last few years, this day has become popular in India as well. I doubt Dad would have cared much about any celebration on Father’s Day, but now that we know about it, it’s a day when we wish he was around to tell him how much we appreciated everything he did for us.
12th Jun 1929 – Feb/Mar 1945
(died before her 16th birthday)
Anne Frank would have been 89 today. One can say that she’d have had a fair chance of still being alive (her dad Otto Frank lived beyond 91, even after spending time in a concentration camp), if not for the Gestapo who dug the family out of 25 months of hiding (Jul 1942 – Aug 1944)… from this building no. 263 on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam.
Today is RK Laxman’s birthday, the first without his physical presence. Our Common Man creator would have turned 94. Google didn’t fail to remind us all.
“The Common Man” and “You Said It” brought us daily smiles while we were growing up. So many many years ago, when we heard about The Times of India’s release of a compilation of RK Laxman’s work “50 years of Independence through the eyes of RK Laxman” (1998), three of us from my workplace Mode Research, Mumbai pre-ordered our copies. My plan was to gift a copy to my grandfather, who was already 90 years by then, and who was really a real life Common Man. Continue reading →
It’s a weird feeling. One parent’s birthday is the same as the other’s death day. The odds, quite rare I suppose. With a 1 in 365 chance, it is a coincidence that Nagesh and I would never have imagined as we said “happy birthday mom” every year.
On September 14, two scenes flash before my eyes. Dad entering the house with a bunch of yellow flowers after his morning walk, surprising mom as she got our breakfast ready. Several years later, on a Sunday morning, Dad sitting up against pillows in the hospital bed, his frail hands holding the newspaper. He could barely talk and I wonder if the date on the newspaper registered in his still-alert mind. That same evening, while relatives and friends popped by to visit him and stood around the hospital corridors, some reluctantly greeting mom on her birthday, he was mercifully released.
Twelve years on, “happy birthday mom” comes with less pain. Still, dad, always missed. A treasured memory.